A Cricut machine is a great addition to any house thanks to its versatility. If you enjoy crafting, you’ll want to experience the joy of a Cricut.
One interesting thing you can do with a Cricut machine is to make custom stencils for a range of projects you’re working on.
Some people might be put off by this statement, as they’ll assume that making DIY stencils is too difficult and time-consuming. However, with a Cricut machine by yourself, it is surprisingly simple.
Today we’re going to be looking at how you’d make a stencil with a Cricut machine, as well as some tricks on how to make them the highest quality possible.
What Is A Stencil?
If you’re unsure of what exactly a stencil is, it is a thin sheet of material with a design cut out of the middle. Stencils are often made from plastic, paper, or vinyl, depending on what they are going to be used for.
Once the stencil has been cut, it is laid over a surface and painted over. Then, the stencil is peeled off, and the paint will only be left where the cutout of the stencil originally was. This leaves a painted pattern on the surface.
Stencils are excellent for a number of reasons. Firstly, they eliminate the issue of you having to freehand a design, leaving you with a perfect result.
For example, if you had stencil lettering, you could paint a word on a surface in a perfect font rather than your handwriting.
Another reason why we love stencils is that they can be reused. So, if you’re painting a pattern over a large surface, you can use just one stencil to complete the whole thing.
Some examples of when stencils are most useful are: painting wooden signs, glass etching, stencilled wallpaper, and painted tiles.
Making Stencils With A Cricut Machine
The great thing about making stencils with a Cricut machine is that there is more than one way to do it, so that you can find the best one that works for you.
Stencils offer a professional look to the project that you’re completing, and the Cricut can make the planning stage easier for you, too.
Below we’ll be looking at how to make a stencil with a Cricut machine for beginners. Making stencils with your Cricut is relatively easy for people with all experience levels, but beginners might fare better making a simple stencil to start with.
Don’t rush into the most complicated design you can think of!
What You’ll Need To Make A Stencil With A Cricut
- A blank surface to transfer the stencil onto
- Stencil vinyl
- Paint or stain
- Cricut machine
- Weeding tools
- Scraper tool
- Masking tape, optional
If you have a project in mind in which you need a stencil, feel free to use the blank surface and paint that you’re planning on using in the original project. If you want to practice first, however, just gather some practice supplies.
Which Cricut Machine Is Best For Making Stencils?
Since Cricut machines are all used for cutting materials, all of them can be used to make stencils. However, some are more versatile than others.
The Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore machines can cut all types of stencil materials. We’ll talk more about the types of stencil materials you can use a little later in the article. With the standard size of mat for the Cricut machine, you can make stencils up to 11.5 x 11.5 inches.
If you require larger stencils, however, there is also the option to use the larger mat size of 11.5 x 23.5 inches.
The Cricut Joy is good for if you need smaller stencils and want a machine with a slightly lower price point. The machine cuts stencils up to 4.5 x 6.5 inches and will cut through stencil vinyl, removable vinyl, and freezer paper.
It can cut stencil film, although it might take a few goes to get the stencil completely cut through.
We would opt for either the Cricut Maker or the Cricut Explore series. However, if you have another Cricut machine, we’re sure that it will still do the trick.
Which Material Is Best For Making Stencils?
Cricut machines can cut through a variety of materials, so it’s all about finding which material is best for your stencils. Here are a few options that you could opt for:
- Cricut stencil vinyl
This material is thicker than regular vinyl and therefore makes the stencil more durable. This is great for when you want to reuse your stencil again. It also comes with an adhesive backing in case you wanted to use it to keep the stencil in place.
- Regular vinyl
You can still use regular vinyl if you have some leftovers lying around the house. It’s a great option to use up pieces that you don’t want anymore without wasting them. This material is less durable, though, so might tear after using it.
- Stencil film
Stencil film is reusable and washable, which is great if you’re planning to stencil the same design multiple times. Stencil film is most likely what the stencils you’d buy at the craft store are made of, so you know this is a good option for your DIY stencils.
- Freezer paper
Freezer paper is a good option if you’re stencilling onto fabric. The paper will stick to the fabric so you don’t need to worry about the paint bleeding where it isn’t supposed to. Once you’re done you can peel it off the fabric with ease.
- Paper or card
If you have no other options, you can also use paper or card. These stencils will only be usable once, so this isn’t the best material to use if you’re going to be using the stencil multiple times.
Steps To Make A Stencil With A Cricut Machine
There are four steps to making your stencil, which we’ll look at now:
Step One: Designing The Stencil
You can find a premade stencil in the Cricut Access library, upload your own image, or design your unique stencil in Cricut Design Space.
Between these three options, you’ll be able to make your stencil exactly how you’re envisioning it. The Cricut Access library will have most basic stencils such as letters, numbers, and images, but the Cricut Design Space is where you can let your imagination run wild.
Step Two: Cut The Vinyl
Place your stencil material onto your Cricut cutting mat and use the brayer tool to make sure that it’s flat and smooth.
Load the machine into the mat with a push of a button. Now, send your stencil file to the machine using your computer. If you’re using Cricut Design Space, here’s how to do that:
- Click ‘Make It’ in the top right corner of your screen
- Click continue if the design is correct
- Select the material you’re about to cut
The machine will now cut the material after you press the flashing ‘Go’ button. Once it has stopped cutting, take the mat out of the machine.
Step Three: Weed The Stencil
Weeding the design means to remove floating pieces in the design. Remove these with a weeding tool or a set of tweezers.
Now peel the stencil vinyl liner away from the stencil at a 45-degree angle before placing the stencil onto your surface.
You might not need to weed the stencil if your design is relatively simple. If you don’t need to, just remove the backing and place it onto your surface. Use the scraper tool to burnish the vinyl onto the surface.
If you are not using stencil vinyl, you might want to stick the stencil onto the surface with masking tape. This will avoid any sticky residue being left like scotch tape would.
Step Four: Paint Your Stencil
Either use a stencil brush or a sponge brush to apply paint over your stencil. Apply as many coats as you need to achieve the desired opaqueness of your design.
Once the paint has completely dried, slowly remove the stencil from your surface and admire your work!
We hope that you’ve learned how to make your own stencils with a Cricut machine and get a lot of success from this method. You can use almost any material, but we find that stencil vinyl works best.
Again, every Cricut machine can be used to make stencils, but the Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore series are the winners in our eyes.
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